The Israel Museum is one of the world’s leading art and archaeology museums and Israel’s foremost cultural institution. Founded in 1965, the museum houses an immense collection of over 500,000 objects, including the most comprehensive assemblage of archaeological finds from the Holy Land and the world-renowned Dead Sea Scrolls. Moreover, the museum is also home to extensive selections of Judaica, fine art from Israel and worldwide, design, architecture, and photography.
The Israel Museum New Archaeology Wing
The land of Israel has been home to countless people, cultures, and religions for thousands of years. And thanks to the hard work of archaeologists, we can peek back in time to learn about these long-lost individuals. Moreover, the new archaeology wing in the Israel Museum will take you on a journey through time from as far back as we know to the beginning of the Ottoman period.
Thousands of artifacts demonstrate these ancient people’s historical events, technological advances, and day-to-day lives. Through interactive and engaging displays, you will be transported back in time. Moreover, some of the most beloved exhibits include Early Hebrew Writing, Coins in Context, and Glass Through the Ages. Also, to be found within the archaeology wing, you will find the Model of Jerusalem and the Shrine of the Book.
The Shrine of the Book – A Must-See in the Israel Museum
Specifically one of the main highlights of the Israel Museum is the Shrine of the Book, a unique white-domed building in which the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed. The scrolls, the oldest biblical manuscripts in the world, were discovered in 1947 in several caves around the Wadi Qumran. They were purchased by Hungarian émigré and philanthropist David Samuel Gottesman, who gifted them to the State of Israel.
So the Dead Sea Scrolls, rare biblical manuscripts dating back to the early medieval era, and artifacts found at Masada are housed in the Shrine of the Book, a unique building located two-thirds below the ground covered by a white dome and surrounded by a reflecting pool. Frederick Kiesler and Armand Bartos designed it. The white dome symbolizes the Sons of Light, and its interior is designed to resemble a pot in which the scrolls were found. Also, a black basalt wall stands opposite the dome, symbolizing the Sons of Darkness.
A Scale Model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple
Next to the Shrine of the Book is a scale model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period, showcasing the architecture and topography of the city before the Romans destroyed it in 66 CE.
Also, other fascinating highlights that shouldn’t be missed on a visit to the museum include the Billy Rose Art Garden, designed by sculptor Isamu Noguchi which serves as the backdrop for the display of the evolution of modern western sculpture. Moreover, the garden features sculptures by modern masters like Henry Moore, Auguste Rodin, Pablo Picasso, and Jacques Lipchitz.
Furthermore, the Israel Museum also operates two off-site locations: the Rockefeller Archaeological Museum, which focuses on archaeology from ancient Israel, and the historic Ticho House, which features exhibitions by younger Israeli artists. So to enjoy a visit to the museum, I invite you to book a private tour of the museum; that without a doubt will enhance your visit.
Visiting the Israel Museum – Opening Hours:
Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday: 10 am-5 pm
Tuesdays: 4 pm-9 pm
Friday and Holidays: 10 am-2 pm
Address: Derech Ruppin, Jerusalem, Israel
Phone: +972 2-670-8811
I strongly recommend you come early so that you can enjoy all that the museum has to offer! I would start in the archaeological wing and the Shrine of the Book if I were you. Then, if you have more time to spare, you should check out the model of the 2nd Temple Jerusalem. So don’t hesitate and go check it out!